Council To Investigate La Mesa Mayor's Conduct

Mayor Art Madrid Thursday denied having a drinking problem and decried what he described as a "volcanic eruption" of criticism after being found drunk and given a ride home by La Mesa police officers. At a special Thursday night meeting, city leaders agreed to hire an independent party to fully investigate Madrid's drunken incident last week.

At the meeting, Madrid said "Mount St. Helens came to mind" when thinking about the "firestorm" that erupted after he and a finance department employee, Trisha Turner, were discovered around 10:30 p.m. that night. It was confirmed by La Mesa's police chief that Turner was intoxicated and behind the wheel of the car with the car's engine still running. The two had been found about a block from Madrid's home.

Earlier, in comments to reporters, Madrid said he did not have a drinking problem and would not resign.

Madrid also praised the police officers who drove him home.

"The police did their job, as far as I'm concerned," Madrid told a local TV station.

Meanwhile, an anonymous foe of Madrid has set up an automated system that generates calls urging residents to complain about Madrid to county prosecutors.

The calls, which began Wednesday night and describe Madrid as having been covered in vomit when he was found by police, ask residents to press the district attorney's office for an investigation

Thursday's meeting was scheduled at the urging of La Mesa City Council members Ernie Ewin, Dave Allan and Ruth Sterling, and several residents who attended the council's regularly scheduled meeting earlier in the week.

Madrid has repeatedly apologized for his actions and promised such an incident would never happen again. He told the Union-Tribune Wednesday that he believes the calls were orchestrated by political enemies.

Madrid drank in excess that night to mark the 19-year anniversary of his son's death from cancer, 10News reported.

La Mesa Police Chief Alan Lanning has said his officers did not know who Madrid was until they checked his identification. He said they would have done the same thing for anyone else in that situation.

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